Psalm 23 is one of those familiar Psalms that is frequently quoted in times of death or great sorrow. It’s so familiar to many of us that it’s easy to skip over the truth or miss what God is saying to us. There is so much application of Psalm 23 to everyday life, so let’s try to view Psalm 23 with an open heart to what God wants to teach us.
What does this Psalm teach us about God?
He is our Good Shepherd (v. 1). He leads us wisely and faithfully, gently and lovingly. He knows what is best for us, and all His ways are right and good.
He is our Restorer (v. 3). We need this so often because we get bogged down with life, and we need His restoration.
He leads us in ways for His name’s sake (v. 3). God always is bringing glory to Himself. It’s about His Name being spread, His power being manifested in your life, not our personal comfort, happiness, or temporary pleasure, as we so often want it to be.
He is our Comforter (v. 4). God often uses the valleys of life to reveal areas in our hearts that need to be refined, wrong motives that need to be confessed, idols that need to be destroyed. Yet in the midst of those valleys, He comforts us. Isn’t this an amazing God?
In light of those truths about God, what should our response be?
If He is our Good Shepherd, we should trust Him wholeheartedly. If He was an unreliable Shepherd we’d have reason to doubt, but God never fails and everything He does is perfect and right.
If He is our Restorer, we should find Him to be our source of joy. Our treasure, our life, our all. He is the only One who can meet the deepest needs of our hearts. Even when we are empty and dry, He can restore our souls.
If He leads us for His name’s sake, we should follow Him, no matter the cost. If He did things for our sake, then it would be a small, short-lived glory. But we’re following a King that is worthy of all our devotion and obedience! Because it’s for His sake, we can obey Him when He commands us to love unconditionally. To serve joyfully. To give sacrificially. To fight sin. To pursue unity. To embrace accountability. To be vulnerable and open. To deny ourselves and live selflessly. To spread the gospel. To give up our earthly lives.
If He is our Comforter, then we can comfort others. What we’ve been freely given, we can then give in return. God works in our lives, not so we can keep it to ourselves, but because He intends for it to be spread, through the body of Christ in the local church, and through the globe, as believers passionate about God’s glory spread His name and share what He has done in their lives. His comfort is given to us that we can in turn comfort others in Christ (2 Cor. 1:4).
May these truths found in Psalm 23 penetrate our hearts and lives!